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Is Fish Oil Really Effective?

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) such as Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are commonly known to benefit health and can be obtained by eating fish or consuming fish oil supplements.

Since the past few years, we have been hearing quite a lot about fish oil. It is aggressively advertised by several companies as a wonder supplement and its sales have increased significantly in the past decade. But how effective is fish oil? How much of the so-called fish oil facts is a reality and how much is a myth or propaganda?

In this article, we have tried to talk about how effective fish oil is known to be in several disease conditions on the basis current level of research. To well inform the readers on the other side of the story, a contrary perspective to this is also discussed in a separate article.

Overall research on fish oil benefits is inconclusive or insufficient

As per the scientific community, the overall research on benefits of fish oil conducted across several decades, geographies, and patient types is considered inconclusive or insufficient. A single opinion is lacking among researchers, clinicians, and industry as it is largely based on individual research, clinical experience, personal beliefs, and commercial interests.

However, over the last decade, fish oil supplements are most commonly used for diseases of heart and blood system (cardiovascular diseases). It is also used in conditions of brain, eyes, bones, joints and muscles, lungs, immune system, cancer, and kidneys in varying degrees. Out of these, existing research suggests that fish oil is likely effective in certain disease conditions and may or may not benefit in several others.

The chart depicts how effective is fish oil in several diseases as per the amount and quality of available scientific evidence. It is based on the information developed by Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database, US.

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